The Inspiration

More than 100 years ago, Irene Douglas moved to Brucemore and began a tradition which continues today: supporting local art.

A committed philanthropist and supporter of many groups, Irene showed a commitment to the cultivation of art in its many forms. She filled her home with music and the arts, hosting concerts and theater, sponsoring events, and commissioning works of art. In the 1920s, Irene was a member of the Cedar Rapids Art Association, a group which helped support artists like Marvin Cone and Grant Wood.


Brucemore's Grant Wood Porch comissioned by Irene Douglas

Since Brucemore’s transformation from a private residence into a historic site and community cultural hub in 1981, Brucemore has continued the tradition started by Irene, celebrating local arts and culture. Decades of unique cultural programs including dozens of theatrical performances, concerts, art shows, and tours represent the importance of this legacy.

In fall 2019, Brucemore embarked on a new journey with Artisan in Residence, Gerard Estella, to support this legacy through the Artisan Studio. The Studio offers an opportunity for Brucemore to continue to foster and cultivate local talent. A group of gifted artists who had previously performed at Brucemore were selected for this exclusive project. Gerard, along with his team at GMix East, use their expertise to work with artists, writing, developing, producing, recording and mixing original work.

Although started more than a century ago, the tradition which Irene Douglas began continues today. Her effort, along with that of other dedicated patrons of the arts, supported home-grown talents such as Marvin Cone and Grant Wood. Today, the names have changed but the goal is the same: supporting local art.